PETERSON AFB, CO — North American Aerospace Defense Command is furiously denying allegations the organization's holiday tradition of tracking Santa Claus' path on Christmas Eve led to the leak of targeting parameters for America's hefty nuclear intercontinental ballistic arsenal.
“I thought it was strange that we had Santa starting out here in the Rockies, and heading straight for Beijing and Pyongyang,” said one senior NORAD official, speaking under condition of anonymity. “By the time we had him dropping cluster-gifts on Tehran, we realized it wasn't the Santa Simulation we were supposed to be running.”
Sources confirmed children watching the Jolly Old Elf's movements around the globe were actually watching targets populate across a digital world map.
Although many targeted cities and locations were predictable — military bases and production centers of key international rivals — parts of the revealed target list were surprising even to most Americans, and caused significant blowback within U.S. diplomatic circles. Protests across the world gripped headlines this morning, as even Canadians took to the streets with signs reading, “Quebec Probably Isn't Worth Bombing,” “Please Don't Bomb Canada, if You Can Avoid It,” and, “We'll Do Better, We Promise!”
In other countries, anger was palpable, as diplomats and leaders around the world reacted to the leaked intelligence. Afghan President Hamid Karzai again blasted the U.S. for “corruption, greed, and lack of trust” from his enormous golden sky palace hovering over the city of Kabul. In Baku, Prime Minister Artur Rasizade issued a press release asking simply, “What the fuck did Azerbaijan ever do to [the United States]?” Unconfirmed cables from the U.S. Diplomatic Service in Paris suggested that negotiations were even underway for some sort of surrender.
“When I heard what had happened, I went ballistic,”said Gen. Charles Jacoby, Jr. the commander of NORAD. “I mean, there's certainly going to be fallout from this. I just hope that the international community is willing to move past the looming cloud of distrust, as we work to annihilate any lingering tensions. America simply wants its goodwill to radiate throughout the world, infecting the hearts of friend and enemy alike.”
Asked about the investigation, Jacoby elaborated, “Of course, we'll be launching a full series of targeted strikes probing the source of this leak. I'll personally command the investigation with laser-guided focus, and once we have our target, the remedy will be surgical.”
Jacoby spoke to reporters for about ten more minutes before running out of missile-related puns.
Perhaps, however, no one lost more than the children who stayed up patiently, waiting for Santa to appear over their home towns.
“I brushed my teeth and got into bed, and watched the [NORAD] website until I fell asleep. I don't know why Santa visited those kids in Pong-Pong [Pyongyang] first,” said Susie Gladwell, a local child and Santa enthusiast. “I guess they were just better than me this year,” continued Susie, 5, who dreams of one day becoming a nurse on a rocket ship with rainbows on the sides.
Susie's parents, Mark and Stacy Gladwell, themselves NORAD employees, were nearly just as disappointed as she was.
“Mark had the whole Santa costume on, and was waiting for the signal from me. When I saw the beacon pass over our town on the computer, I was going to jingle some bells and he would go visit her as Santa. Instead, we sat up all night, wondering why there were hundreds of Santas, all traveling straight out of the country.”
Reached for comment, Santa Claus admitted he may have had a hand in the confusion.
“I usually turn in my travel itinerary in triplicate to the Department of Defense at least a week in advance, but I had trouble accessing the Defense Travel System online," said Claus, from his post-Christmas retreat in Tora Bora. "I couldn't get it to accept my PIN, or populate my travel destinations, and even when I finally got the help desk on the line, they asked me for my DoD-linked account information for direct deposit into the Defense Financial Accounting System. I didn't have that on hand, and they told me I'd have to call back when I did."
“If you'll excuse me, I have to get back to waiting in line at the North Pole VA Hospital. I've been trying to get this awful cough looked at for over 700 years,” said Claus, before breaking into a fit of hacking ho-ho-hos.